By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SANTA CRUZ, Calif. -- Nicholas Ballenger (Jr., F, Salem, OR/West Salem HS) shot as the clock was expiring, but the ball didn't cross the goal line until just after the buzzer sounded to end the game, and the Willamete University Bearcats had to settle for a 0-0 tie in two overtimes against Albion College (Mich.) on Friday, Sept. 7. Ryan Sato (Fr., F, Sunnyvale, CA/Homestead HS) took a corner kick for Willamette with five seconds remaining. The corner led to a shot by Omar Dominguez Pascasio (So., M/D, Madras, OR/Madras HS) that was blocked outside the goal line by a defender. Ballenger's follow shot went into the net, but officials ruled that time expired first.
Willamette, playing for the second day in row and for the fourth time in eight days, moved to 2-1-1 on the season. Albion ended the day with a 2-0-2 record. The game was played on the University of California, Santa Cruz campus. Willamette defeated UC Santa Cruz, 3-1, on Thursday to open the two-game road trip.
"I'm really proud of our effort today," Willamette Head Coach Lloyd Fobi said. "Playing four games in eight days showed today, but our guys battled through it ... played well and controlled the game. We created some very good chances. We were very unlucky to have a goal called off in the last second of the game. Overall, we hit the post twice and had two balls cleared off their goal line."
The goalkeepers provided strong play for their teams on Friday. Mason Kelliher (Jr., GK, Wellington, N.Z./Wellington College) recorded five saves for the Bearcats, while Maximilian Loria earned five saves for Albion. Kelliher, who played forward for Willamette last season and has returned to goalkeeping this year, recorded his first career shutout. He is 1-1-1 on the season with a 0.89 goals against average and 15 saves.
Albion ended the scoreless first half with a slight statistical edge. The Britons held a 6-2 lead in total shots after 45 minutes, but owned a slimmer 2-1 advantage in shots on goal. Max Berner-Hays (So., D, Seattle, WA/Ballard HS) of Willamette missed wide right 15 seconds before the halftime break.
In the second half, the Britons gained a 6-4 margin in total shots and a 3-2 edge in shots on target. Even so, Willamette gradually started creating good opportunities. A shot by Yuki Onishi (So., M, Yokohama, Japan/Yamanashi Gakuin) forced a save by Loria at 81:28 and a shot by Sato led to another save at 83:34. Kyle Bourlier of Albion took the final shot of the second half with one second left, but Kelliher registerd a save.
Willamette took four shots -- not counting the one near the final buzzer -- and Albion created three shots during the sudden-death overtime sessions. The Bearcats almost won the game in the first overtime when a header by Berner-hays hit the crossbar at 95:02. Albion had a quality shot at 98:06 on a header by Alex Spratte following a corner kick, but a Willamette defender cleared the ball.
Every shot in the second overtime was recorded in the final two minutes. Jonathon Daily of the Britons placed a header wide right at 108:34. Joe Plaster (Sr., D, San Diego, CA/University City HS) of WU took a shot at 109:30 that was saved out of bounds by Loria. The save led to a corner kick by Sato at 109:40. Sato's cross went over the end line off an Albion player, creating the game's final chances with a second corner kick.
For the match, Albion claimed a 15-10 advantage in total shots, but both teams finished with six shots on goal. Willamette held a 7-5 edge in corner kicks, including a 4-0 lead in the first half and a 2-0 margin in the second overtime.
The Bearcats will play their third game in four days -- and fifth in 10 days -- on Sunday, Sept. 9 when they host Wisconsin Lutheran College at Sparks Field in Salem, Oregon. Kickoff is set for 12 p.m. (PDT).